Recent-est update (Jan 2008): Wish I could spend more time writing, particularly with the fancy new orange hat. Will try, but currently four months into first year of teaching high school (choir and English) and engaged to a lovely woman as of December 22nd.
Hey there, I'm a recently graduated (spring 2007) university student with an interest in frivolous forms of art such as music and literature. If you've looked through my reviews at all, you'll notice that I stick almost exclusively to music and books. I can't decide which is my first love, so I try to court them equally.
What I do for fun: sing (a lot), generally in choirs or quartets, write songs, record songs, read (almost constantly if possible), bike around with that wonderful invention, the iPod, listen to live music, hang out with my girlfriend, study Latin, teach Hutterites how to read music and sing harmony (well, not strictly for fun, since they pay me with vegetables and home baking)
What I don't do anymore: homework! Oh wait, I'm going to be teaching English next year. Dang...homework for life :(
Musically I like rock and roll in general, alternative (Tom Waits/Nick Cave-esque), goth rock, progressive metal, jazz, funk and blues, folk/bluegrass/some country, and industrial, not to mention classical (especially German vocal music). I still listen to some Christian bands although the Internet has greatly expanded my range of hearing. My favourite bands: U2, Fold Zandura/Mortal, King's X, Nickel Creek, Nightwish, Opeth, and Skinny Puppy (in varying order). As for reading, my favourite authors are C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien (not very original in certain circles), and I love fantasy/sf, classical literature, some theology/philosophy stuff and comic books!
The Manitoba Connection
Saluting Canada's Keystone Province, my lifelong home and one of the few places on earth where people must learn to live with a 80 degree variation in temperature extremes.
Steven Erikson: Reaper's Gale (A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen) Erikson is a former Winnipegger who now lives in beautiful Victoria, B.C. But we'll always treasure having held on to one of the world's finest epic fantasists, if only for a while.
Corey Redekop: Shelf Monkey Redekop is a librarian in Thompson, Manitoba, and judging by his Mennonite heritage, related to about a third of our province's population.
J.R.R. Tolkien: The Children of Hurin OK, this one's a bit of a stretch. But according to our friend Wikipedia, Christopher Tolkien, Johnny R.R.'s oldest son and editor/redactor of this fine piece of writing, has a wife born in...drumroll please...Winnipeg! Not only that, but Christopher made a few scholarly trips to the University of Manitoba, my alma mater, and even met Guy Gavriel Kay, the man who helped him in the process of preparing The Silmarillion for publication, in those hallowed halls.
Beatrice Culleton: In Search of April Raintree This book is infamous in Canada for its harrowing portrayal of Metis/Aboriginal life. The author is a native of Winnipeg, where she also set her story.
Miriam Toews: Swing Low Toews came to national prominence with her bestselling, award-winning A Complicated Kindness, a book set in a community pretty obviously based on my own hometown (Steinbach), but this earlier publication tells the story of her bipolar father's struggle with depression and eventual suicide. Not only is it of personal interest to me as a book by a fellow Steinbacher, but more importantly as the biography of the larger-than-life figure who taught me in grade six.
A list of some live concerts I have attended (in rough chronological order starting with most recent)
"Weird Al" Yankovic
"The Beach Boys" (Mike Love, not Brian Wilson)
Bela Fleck & the Flecktones
Robert Randolph & the Family Band
My Morning Jacket
Cornerstone Music Festival (2002-2005):
Woven Hand (twice)
Robert Randolph & the Family Band
Skillet (3 times)
Switchfoot (3 times)
Joy Electric (4 times)
Pedro the Lion
The Lost Dogs
Bands that are still on my dream list:
Skinny Puppy (do I really want to go there? I think so)
Some Great Classical Works I have Sung as Chorister
Handel: Messiah (only about 7 or 8 times...I'm still young!)
Haydn: The Creation
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem (alas, not the full orchestral version but the two piano adaptation)
Orff: Carmina Burana (about 5 times)
Bach: St. Matthew Passion (all 3 1/2 hours)
Gounod: St. Cecilia Mass
Mozart: Die Zauberflote